p08 emb

edible Monterey Bay Summer 2016

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELIZABETH HODGES AND ROB FISHER It’s an accomplishment to embrace all five senses when you eat. It takes focus and diligence. But Liz Birnbaum, creator of e Curated Feast, a high-concept event series based in Santa Cruz, doesn’t just believe in slowing down to taste, smell, hear, feel and see her food. She also practices a sixth sense, if you will, which is experiencing a place in time. Her aim is to take you on this time travel, with food and drink being your mode of transport, and a group of other engaged eaters being your companions. “It all started almost as a party trick,” she says of her unique outlook and ability to articulate the historical and anthropologic pathways of ingredients. “I would tell stories over drinks with friends.” But it soon became EDIBLE NOTABLES THE CURATED FEAST e conscious eater’s local event series BY AMBER TURPIN obvious that there was a bigger calling for this talent. And so, drawing on diverse experience in the food and farm worlds (her beloved current day job is with the Organic Farming Research Foundation), Birnbaum launched e Curated Feast in June 2015 at Event Santa Cruz. Since then, Birnbaum has hosted more than a half-dozen parties, pop-ups and speaking events, using menus, ingredients, storytelling, props and some theater to explore the supposition that every ingredient has historical meaning that is significant to us today. 6 edible monterey bay summer 2016 “Not everybody is into this kind of didactic feast,” she admitted while staging one of her most recent dinners, 1493—A Feast of Origins, in March. It was her third event tracing cultural history through food, beginning with e Taste of Ancient Greece Feast last July, and following e Silk Road, A Traveler’s Feast, in October. It takes a certain kind of person who is more than a little bit interested in food to really get into what e Curated Feast is all about. But those of us who geek out on the stories and the linking of history to what we eat are diehard fans. In fact, most people who have attended one of her events are now regulars, waiting for the next delicious journey. is particular meal, which took place in the upstairs Motiv bar in downtown Santa Cruz, now home to LionFish SupperClub’s Ulterior, took guests over continents as well as through time. “e idea of a New World and an Old World being separate is a very European imperial concept, an illusion,” explains Birnbaum. LionFish co-owners Zachary Mazi and Tighe Melville have been partners and collaborators with Birnbaum since the beginning. Like Birnbaum, they love the process of coming up with a symbolic menu to fit the events’ themes. To illustrate what e Curated Feast presents, here’s an example. To begin the 1493 meal, we were served a Botanical Imperial Cocktail,


edible Monterey Bay Summer 2016
To see the actual publication please follow the link above